Homeless man pleads guilty to Minnesota synagogue fire | TribLIVE.com
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Homeless man pleads guilty to Minnesota synagogue fire

Associated Press
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St. Louis (Minn.) County Sheriff’s Office via AP
This undated booking photo from the St. Louis (Minn.) County Sheriff’s Office shows Matthew James Amiot, who was arrested Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in connection to last week’s fire at the Adas Israel Congregation, in Duluth, Minn.

DULUTH, Minn. — A homeless man has pleaded guilty to starting a fire that destroyed a 117-year-old synagogue in Duluth, Minnesota.

Thirty-six-year-old Matthew Amiot entered his guilty pleas on negligent fire charges Tuesday in St. Louis County District Court.

The fire destroyed the Adas Israel Synagogue on September 9. Authorities say Amiot used a lighter to ignite combustible materials outside the main building, near a separate religious structure called a sukkah.

The complaint says Amiot admitted starting the fire and told police he tried to spit on it to put it out, but walked away when that didn’t work.

Police say they don’t believe the fire was a hate crime.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25. The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reports that prosecutors are recommending probation.

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